Every year, connoisseurs travel far across the globe to experience Cornish bottled beer and cider. Our small corner of the UK is home to many legendary breweries, so let’s honour their ingenuity and dedication by highlighting the history of the 5 most famous brewers of Cornish bottled beer:
#1 The Blue Anchor
Did You Know? As well as being the oldest brewery in Cornwall, the Blue Anchor inn itself was first built in the 15th century.
The Blue Anchor draws a long history of Cornish beer into every pint. In the 17th century, there were 30 ale houses in the town of Helston, which itself only had a population of 300.
Today, The Blue Anchor is the oldest of the four remaining ale houses in the UK who brew their own beer. We highly recommend the Spingo Middle, first made to welcome back the men who fought in the First World War.
#2 Driftwood Spars Brewery
Location: Trevaunance Cove, St Agnes
Did You Know? Their red ale “Alfie’s Revenge” was the winner of the Camra Winter Beer of Britain 2012 award.
Established in 2000, Driftwood Spars was first formed when Pete, the brewer, met the pub landlady at the St Austell Brewery Beer Festival. Together they created one phenomenal “brewpub and B&B by the sea”.
The name actually comes from the huge beams (or spars) that make up the building’s structure. These were salvaged from shipwrecks in the 1650’s. Before it became a pub and brewery, the Driftwood was a tin mining warehouse, a sail making loft and a fish cellar.
#3 Wooden Hand Brewery
Did You Know? As well as beers, the Wooden Hand brewery also produces wines through a partnership with Liberty Wines
There is a dramatic history behind the name of this brewery. The 17th century pirate John Carew of Penwarne lost his hand in a siege on Osten. According to legend, he retrieved the severed limb from the battlefield and commissioned a wooden replacement.
Out of their many, dramatically named beers, we recommend “Cornish Mutiny” and its biscuity base flavour.
#4 Ales of Scilly
Did You Know? The brewer’s bottling machine has been nicknamed “Bender” due to its similar appearance to the Futurama character of the same name.
Situated in two premises and producing up to 50 casks a week, Ales of Scilly is an efficient, reliable and stalwart mainstay of the Duchy of Cornwall.
The Maiden Voyage, one of their best ales, is brewed with very traditional methods, and uses malted Maris Otter barley and a blend of English hops.
#5 St Austell’s Brewery
Location: St Austell
Did You Know? In 2014, archaeologists discovered a vintage bottle of Walter Hicks Ale from St Austell’s Brewery in the sands of Perranporth. The bottle is believed to be from 1910!
This list would not be complete without one of the most legendary brewers of the whole Duchy of Cornwall...and the UK as a whole. St Austell’s Brewery was founded in 1851, and today remains 100% family owned and independent.
The awards won by this brewery are too numerous to mention, though a good place to start is with a bottle of Tribute: the Supreme Champion Cornish Ale at CAMRA Falmouth Beer Festival 2004, and the official beer of South West Rugby.